Pharmacy-based program aims to curtail chlamydia
YOUNG Canberrans are being targeted by a new pharmacy-based community health initiative aimed at educating them about chlamydia with a view to eradicating the disease.
The program is a collaboration between the Australian Primary Health Care Research Institute and the Canberra Sexual Health Centre.
People aged 16 to 30, particularly those seeking contraception, who present to one of six community pharmacies taking part in the trial will be asked if they want to provide a urine sample. The sample will be sent to an ACT laboratory for testing, and the results sent to the Canberra Sexual Health Centre for processing.
Participants who test positive will be contacted by the Sexual Health Centre, which will offer treatment, additional STI testing and contact tracing.
The aim of the program is to investigate alternative settings to offer chlamydia screening, as part of a territory-wide initiative to bring spiralling rates under control.
“Whilst the focus of [screening] research to date has been on general practice or sexual health centres, little attention has been paid to the efficacy of testing for chlamydia in community pharmacies,” chief investigator Associate Professor Rhian Parker said.
Participants who test positive will be offered clinical management including treatment, testing for other STIs and blood-borne viruses, and contact tracing.
Professor Parker hopes those who decline the service will at least develop a greater awareness and understanding of chlamydia.
Participating pharmacists will be provided with training in patient confidentiality and ethical issues.